Nokia N900 video: The phone functionality may blow you away

One function that stands out on the Nokia N900 from the previous Nokia Internet Tablet devices is the integrated cellular phone radio and software. I honestly did not expect much from the phone part of the device since the form factor and Maemo software seems more focused on the data network and connectivity. However, as you can see in my video below and in some of my thoughts on using the N900 as a phone it actually is a pretty powerful phone that can easily serve as your main cell phone and data terminal.

When you tap on the Phone application you will see the display automatically switch into portrait mode with color coded call history and two horizontal tabs for Dialing pad and Select contact. I really like the call history where color coded arrows show calls placed, incoming calls, missed calls, and voicemail appear. If you have them on your device, small contact photos appear on the right next to an icon designating which type (home, cell, work) of phone the call was on. You can flick through your phone log or start entering letters to filter them.

Tapping on the Select contact tab takes you to your full contact list where you tap a contact and then have options to place your call via cell, Skype, Google Talk, etc (depends on what accounts you have setup). I used the Nokia N810 Skype application quite a bit when in Spain a couple of years ago and LOVE how well integrated Skype and other VoIP methods are on the N900. Depending on the contact info, you can choose to call cell, work, home, etc. from this pop-up as well.

You can also initiate calls from within the Contacts application by opening a contact and then tapping on the specific number you wish to call. BTW, Skype IM and Google Talk IM are supported right from the Contacts application too. I will cover the Contacts application in another post, but I was pretty amazed by the number of available fields for contact entry and creation on the N900.

If you tap on the Dial pad option then a phone dial pad with large touchable numbers will appear. At the top of the Dial pad is a tab you can tap to designate which type of call you will be making (cellular, Skype, Google Talk, etc.). The Dial pad and Select contact screens can also be used and viewed in landscape mode if you slide the display up after launching the phone application.

You can setup accounts for the following services on the Nokia N900:

  • Ovi by Nokia
  • Skype
  • Google Talk
  • Jabber
  • SIP

I haven’t seen ANY other phone that integrates these services into the native phone application so well and think people may be very impressed with the N900 for this reason.

I should also mention that the N900 has a proximity sensor, just like the iPhone, so when you hold the N900 up to your head the display turns off and then when you pull it away the display turns back on. Also, during a call there are large, easy to touch buttons for speakerphone, mute, phone keypad (so you can walk through menu systems), switch to Bluetooth headset, and end. I haven’t yet discovered how to dial 1-800-FLOWERS from the keyboard, but you can use the standard phone keypad to enter this like on a regular phone.

I have a T-Mobile USA account and have had outstanding phone call quality on the N900 with no dropped calls, fuzziness on the line, or anything in over a week of usage. Simply put, the phone functionality on the N900 may be a dark horse feature that pushes the device over the edge and makes it a must have for the mobile road warrior.


30 Comments to Nokia N900 video: The phone functionality may blow you away

October 20, 2009

Is it possible to make a conference call with N900? looks like there is no option for that.

Matthew Miller
October 20, 2009

Guess what my friend? Conference calling is supported! Stay tuned for a video showimg how to do it tomorrow.

Free Nokia Goodies
October 21, 2009

Nice to read its functionality, its look nice to me with plenty of new and lovely features. when Nokia market this device?

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October 21, 2009

Great to know that it has such a functional phone. Is it as customizable as the G1? More specifically, One thing i love about the G1 is the customizable widgets that extends to contacts. Can that be done for the n900? (for example in the G1 i can set up an icon for my home phone no. which allows me to quick dial without having to bother going into contacts.)
Thanks again for your extremely informative reviews.

Matthew Miller
October 21, 2009

Branon, one of the items you can add to the four desktops is contact links. Thus, you can have an entire desktop full of contact shortcuts for quick dialing.

December 1, 2009

I would like to buy this phone but Im not sure if it will fully work with my Tmobile sim card. I already have data plan and txt plan for my blackberry.

Can you tell me how I can setup this phone to use Tmobile sim card?

I have read posts around the net and they say to just simply plug in the sim card and thats it.

Would I be able to make phone calls? send texts? setup my email accounts? web browsing? basically everything I do with my blackberry will I be able to do with the N900 on the Tmobile network?

Please advice.

December 7, 2009

@Elias: I’ve been using the N900 on T-Mobile for a few days now, and I’ve had no issues. You may want to speak to a tech to ensure that all features are enabled for the phone (though I don’t think that would be necessary normally).

December 7, 2009

Should clarify: T-Mobile USA with an Even More Plus plan. :)

December 15, 2009

I’m looking at the N900 for a variety of reasons. With the Skype client built right into the phone, does anyone know if it has the same limitations as Skype To Go service? I just started subscription service with Skype only to find out that I cannot make Skype To Go calls to China. This was the main reason I started the service in the first place and a big reason I was looking at the N900. If I am restricted in this way, it will be out with Skype and the N900. Any insights?

January 11, 2010

Really low expectations for a phone…

• Lack of 1 touch dialing. (My Motorola Startac had speed dialing for 99 numbers! 2 touch dialing I guess)
• No Personal ringtones option. I miss having my father in law’s ringtone of the Godfather come up when he calls.
• No voicemail indicator icon?! Really – Isn’t the tape reel icon something of a given after 20 years

Vinod Kumar
January 27, 2010

Nokia N 900’s battery back is very low.

January 30, 2010

how can we make vodeo call in N900

February 13, 2010

will the n900 work on the verizon network/ with a sim card?

February 18, 2010

option to clear a particular recent call not provided. all recent calls have to cleared cumpulsorily.

March 21, 2010

Hey, Is it possible to make video calls through skype on Nokia N900.. I didnt see any option to start the video confrence. Please revert.

April 10, 2010

Does anyone know if Portrait mode is coming soon?

May 10, 2010

Can someone help me find my GTALK contacts on the NOKIA N900. I sign into GTALK and thats it, I have no clue where to look for my contacts who are online.

May 21, 2010

well after digging for 3 days i finally setup yahoo account. i can see my frns online and can send offline msg too right from the contacts. its so wonderful. and gtalk video chat really thrilled me. thanks nokia. now i can say its much more better that iphone

June 4, 2010

hello! i just wanna share the experience with my n900. As cellphone is ok but how smartphone is the best you can videocall with skype xD make calls infinite without internet service (pay) just find the tmobile service and thats it! without pay a cent! i love that part xD and free games the only thing i dont like is the media player but i can live with that xD .
if you think in buy a Good smartphone buy the n900!!!
the other cellphones in the market sucks iphone in firts place ! hate iphone !! but is the phone who start all this so is ok.

June 5, 2010

May 21, 2010

well after digging for 3 days i finally setup yahoo account. i can see my frns online and can send offline msg too right from the contacts. its so wonderful. and gtalk video chat really thrilled me. thanks nokia. now i can say its much more better that iphone
man check the contacts list and clic on availability and you will see your contacts

June 5, 2010

Does anyone know if Portrait mode is coming soon?
That is ready with the update 10.2010.19-1.002
if not check the ovistore in your cell or the webside!

June 5, 2010

how can I delete a recent call?

June 9, 2010

how i can use front (secondary) cam

July 17, 2010

oh god soch a hrbl phone nothing is the no video call nothing about sms i just hate ths phone guys if u r planing to buy ths plz don’t buy it’s better to buy n97

August 9, 2010

I agree with you but for sorry I allready bought it so guys donot buy n 900 except if nokia modulate its soft ware

December 24, 2010

Is it possible to use call confrence between internet and phone thanks,

January 17, 2011

is it possible to in future to video call on nokia n900

G mustafa taj
May 6, 2011

plans are good with Wind, service is just terrible! and it is mentioned in previous comments it is truly inconsistent and not reliable at all.

May 16, 2011

@MO: press and hold the call record for about 5 seconds and you’ll be able to delete the call record from the menu that pops up

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